Nosler J4 Match Bullet on Deer


Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2001
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Yesterday I had the opportunity to kill three Mulie does using the 168gr, .30 cal Nosler J4 Match bullet. While each of the deer died reasonably quickly, the terminal performance of this bullet has me a bit confused. Hopefully some of the more experienced board members can enlighten me.

Deer #1: This was a 575yd shot and the swirling wind blew the bullet about 20" back from the aiming point. The bullet blew through the hips, leaving a large exit hole. I think this would have been a fatal wound as there was evidence of arterial spray in the grass where the deer was hit. A cut femoral artery would result in death within a few minutes. The deer went down but was not immediately dead so I put another round into her chest (this time with the right wind dope). The second bullet did not exit.

Deer #2: From 400 yds I was able to put the bullet into the deer, just behind "I think" the diaphram. The deer walked about 50 yds before going down. This bullet left a dollar coin sized exit hole. Once again I decided to give the animal a humane end with a second shot. Once again there was no exit hole.

Deer #3: This deer was wounded by my hunting partner. I dispatched it with a shot to the base of the neck from 300 yds. There was no exit hole.

I can't help but wondering why the first round hits all exited but all the bullets that hit a frightened or wounded deer did not exit. The only thing I can think of is that a frightened animal tenses up and this increase in muscle tension is enough to cause the bullet to open up and not be able to exit.

Is this bullet terminal performance comparible to that of a .30 cal 168gr Sierra MK or is the Nosler too thin jacketed for this sort of use?

My feeling is that as long as one can place the bullet properly, the Nosler J4 will do the job. A .30 cal 168 bullet carries a lot of Oomph inside 1000 yds.

Our biggest enemy that day was the wind swirling down the coolees in unexpected ways. Next time I will wait for a windless day.

Peter Cronhelm
Please see my reply to your first post about your long range results.

Friend, I am glad you are reconsidering your use of this match type bullet. Such items are better on paper, and designed to fly true much more so than expand and penetrate a game animal.

I'm sure that Nosler, Hornady, and the other fine mfgs. could give you some good advice about more suitable alternatives.

You may find that true hunting bullets don't shoot quite as accurately, but I believe the tradeoff is worth it, all things considered.

I'll be the first to say tread lightly when discussing the terminal performance of the matchkings in this forum. I cannot speak from actual observance of the performance of these bullets, maybe thats why I interjected before things started. I know for a fact that many many of the members here swear by the performance of these bullets on paper and on game animimals. I for one respect all that is said from several of the members hear such that it is **** near Gospel. There have been very heated discussions on other forums that got quite nasty and I would hate to see it here.
Everyone is entitled to opinions and I for one welcome yours. But the SMK thing has been beat to death.....
Nevertheless, welcome and I look forward to posting with you and to you ....

Over here on this forum, most of us LR and extreme LR hunters have found long ago just how well the Sierra Match King works on game.

The J4s (match bullets) like Nosler, Berger, JLK and Hornady uses, the jackets are to thin for hunting.
The Sierra MK is a much better constructed bullet. It has a thicker jacket then many "so called" hunting bullets.

Have you tried the MK on game or is this just something you read about or got second hand information from someone else?

I respect anyones opinion if you have tried the item and had success or failure, they are commenting on. The respect ends if they have not. This is human nature.

I have many Longrange guns and use NOTHING but Match Kings and always will. After 125 plus deer and 20 or 30 elk, we have not lost any animals to date. The longest shot was 2100 yards on an elk. Yes, they were all killed with Match Kings.
I want a bullet with a high BC and the most accurate and that is a Match King. No other bullet of the same weight and caliber has the BC and accuracy the MK does.
That's why we use them.

Please don't be fooled by the name MatchKing.
It is much more then a match bullet and we have proved it over and over again.

If you haven't tried them and you are a LR hunter, as this "forum is titled", maybe you should.

Darryl Cassel
I know this post is fairly dead and buried. I found it while doing research on elk taken with match kings. (I really miss reading posts by Darryl Cassel) I thought I would add to this post for anyone who might find it while doing resrarch on shooting deer with Nosler j4 competition bullets. In short I have over the last several hunting seasons taken at least 5 deer with j4's at ranges from 308 yards to 530 yards each receiving exactly 1 round to the pumphouse. They either died instantly or they appeared to die instantly because they all began tumbling down the hill they were standing on. Correction. The deer at 308 yards was shot 1 inch below the spine and she walked about 10 yards before getting wobbly and falling over dead. All were yummy.
I just posted on another thread concerning matchkings but I will add my two cents here. The reason you got an exit on the first shot and not on the others is because you didn't have sufficint velocity to cause the bullet to expand. (this is typical of any expanding bullet) Second, unless matchking bullets have a much thicker jacket than the jackets that they sell me to manufacture my own bullets, they are not thicker, but thinner than most. example: a .308" 1.15" sierra matchking jacket has a nose thickness of .012" while a J4 (Berger is more like .014"). The matchking has a tangent ogive which does not allow expansion to occur as easily as a secant (VLD) because of the angle of entry. Tangents exert more pressure in and secant more out. All else equal (jacket thickness, caliber, meplat diameter) a secant will expand better everytime. That is why Bergers expand better than Matchkings even though both are target type bullets. Hope this helps.......Rich

p.s. This isn't speculation, I have tested dozens of sierra, J4, Corbins, etc., both factory bullets and my own, and the above is consistent with what I have found.
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